July 4th solo Bay Trail ride to Point Richmond (Thursday – July 4, 2013)


A few days ago I’d received in the mail a short book compiled and written by my uncle Dave….”Memoirs of a Flight Deck Sailor” recounting some adventures and memories as a 19-year-old enlisted man on the U.S.S. Hancock, an aircraft carrier in the Pacific during WWII. It seemed fitting to spend at least part of our nation’s Independence day heading down to Point Richmond, where part of this history took place.


Between Ben’s continuing aggravated spine injuries and pain and my own neck/spine issues, I’ve been relegated to shorter, flatter rides, so am riding alone a lot lately. It’s a different ride than my regular GPC jaunts, which are my social rides. Solo gives me more opportunity to choose whether to mosey or pound the pavement at any given time. I love the Bay Trail, especially the section between Albany and Richmond. Such a great mix of close-up views of the mudflats and shorebirds, families out on walks and rides.

This day the wind is heavy. Fierce, almost. But not quite knock-down strong (at least not on the flat course i’m taking…. i’m sure it would be a different story if climbing one of our big, exposed hilltops).

So many people out, taking full advantage of the holiday time off of work, barbeques and picnics going on, many sailboats leaving their berths from Richmond Marina to catch that wind… and wing kites out in force, too. All the flags are flying and the banners stretching completely horizontal in the strong winds… i estimate about 35 knots, easily, and just a tad on the cool side. VERY welcome after the triple-digit temps of the past weekend! Glad i have my SmartWool layer AND lightweight cycling jacket!

My luck is better today with those three signal lights between the Richmond Marina and Point Richmond (Harbour Way South/Hoffman, Hoffman/Cutting and Cutting/Canal, mainly because there are cars there already to trip the lights.

Seems like a good day to just head into Point Richmond… and so today i’m being a total “hill avoider” (no Seacliff, no Western Ave) and also no extra miles down to Point Potrero.

In town, i hear music, and see i’ve happened upon the weekly Thursday Point Richmond Farmers’ Market, normally held 4-7 pm, but moved up several hours due to the July 4th festivities. As i am unclipping and stepping into my cleat covers, I am greeted by Lisa Quaid with a big hug. Lisa is the organizer of the market (her career is in fresh farm-to-market food) and she is wearing her festive and characteristic fuzzy dealybobber headband, also happy to see my “colorful” cycling attire (here’s a photo taken on last year’s Willow Creek Road ride, wearing the same ‘get-up’ as today).

We chat briefly, she is so thankful to our GPC family for the sales of Charlie’s bikes and gear. I am happy to have been able to be the conduit for those transactions… invite her to come on Saturday’s upcoming Orinda-Pinole Bear Claw Cafe coffee ride, but Lisa reports she is finally moving in three weeks so no time off for play right now…. but later in the summer will look forward to joining us on the bike again.

the fruits and vegies all look so beautiful, plump and refreshing, but i head over to the hot dog stand and have me a delicious Cajun-mama special dog combo, complete with slaw and all the fixins, Orange Crush and a bag of Sun Chips for $6.50. That just seems right for the occasion, and i munch it down in the little circular park, enjoying the meal and conversation with the town folk hanging there for the party atmosphere before heading off on the return trip.

Tunnel still closed and my neck tells me to avoid the climb up Washington Street and around to Western, so i make the day a simple “out-n-back”, but take a few moments to snap pics of a few things that strike my fancy along the way.


Decending the Buchanan bike-pedestrian bridge, it is now easier to double back along Cleveland, crossing under Buchanan and then take the new bike path on the south side of Buchanan all the way to where Buchanan meets Marin Ave at San Pablo Ave. However, i get off of the path at Jackson, take my window of light traffic across the lanes to the left turn lane between Madison and Adams, jog left onto Adams the loop back onto Solano/Jackson so complete my “map my ride” loop.

MapMyRide tells me my stats are as follows:
20.36 mi (starting/ending on Jackson Ave….note, it appears the speed avgs out all the hang time, stop/starting and picture taking, too…)
6.4 avg speed
3:11:53 total time
183 ft total elevation gain

My own cyclometer (starting/ending at home) sez:
21.16 miles
10.3 mph avg
17.1 mph max
2:02:57 saddle time

VERY relaxing day!!

Ben is home and we watch bicycle races for a bit, and have a batch of killer margaritas (medicinal purposes only, of course!) made with lemons from our trees, before going out to grab a burger (wrong, Big Al’s closed for the holiday), so carnitas burritos from the taco truck at Hotsy Totsy is a fantastic alternative.

Good day, but oops, danged if i didn’t pound that 2nd “rita” too fast… and my insides are still setting down a few days later…. yikes, haven’t done that for about 10 years and don’t care to repeat it any time soon!)

The holiday off work, wonderful bike ride, quiet company at home with my husband all factor in to make the day seem like a long, relaxing weekend…. the following day at work (Friday) i am refueled and productive.

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